Ten years ago today on November 12, 2005 a tornado destroyed several houses here and left the rest of our town looking like a combat zone. It had come as a surprise attack, arriving as it did in November when we are used to thinking more about blizzards than summer storms. So it took a little time to convince the entire household that a trip to the basement might be in order. I remember my father, who was living with us at the time, seemed quite content to stand and watch from the window in his bedroom. Barney, our big dog, hid not only because of the storm but because he didn't like stairs and wanted nothing to do with basements. Little Button was ready for me to carry him anywhere. To me it seemed that everyone was moving in slow motion, even my husband, whom I suspected was just humoring me. Then John McLaughlin, the weatherman on KCCI said, "Woodward, you have two minutes to get to the basement" and things did begin to happen. Somehow we all made it to the basement before the freight train hit. And yes, it did sound like a freight train. There were no serious injuries in Woodward and the town did manage to rebuild and recover from all the damage. But the Woodward tornado will never be forgotten.
Lest we forget...
Yesterday once again we found ourselves in the path of a fierce storm, with almost the same point of origin, traveling nearly the same path as the Great Tornado of 2005. This time it was called a "radar identified rotation," and as far as I know, was never observed touching the ground. The winds that hit Woodward were also very strong and very loud, but the damage was far less intense. Yet it seemed to me an eerie reminder.
I have a personal, more comforting reminder of that day. I call it my "Ebenezer Stone," and hardly a day passes that I don't look at it and remember.
The day before the big storm I had been reading in my morning devotions about a battle between the Israelites and the Philistines. When the Israelites cried to God for help, He sent a clap of thunder to the camp of the enemy, causing them to panic and run away in fear. Then Samuel, the judge and priest of Israel set up a special stone which he named "Ebenezer" because the Lord has brought us this far. For some reason, I couldn't get this stone out of my mind. It kept invading my thoughts all day long.Finally I decided to make one for myself. Done in a hurry, not exactly a work of art. But from the basement as the freight train was headed our way, I remembered the stone and all the trials God had brought us through before. We would be all right. If the house was destroyed and we lost everything, we would start over and we would be all right. If it all caved in on us, we would be together in Heaven and we would be all right. So we all just huddled together and prayed. And trusted. Now, whenever I see my stone I think of the day of the big tornado and I thank God that all three adults, plus two dogs and a cat, made it through safely. And, no matter what happens, we will be OK.